RWDSU President Appelbaum Speaks in Support of DREAMers

On September 6, at the New York City rally in support of the DREAMers and as a response to the announcement by Donald Trump that he will repeal DACA, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU  delivered remarks to a crowd of labor members, activists, and advocacy groups, sending a message to Trump and Congress that New York City will protect the rights of hard working New Yorkers and will fight back and protect immigrants across the country. “We are outraged by the actions of Donald Trump today. My union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store union, is a union of immigrants and we stand with you – and the entire labor movement stands with you. Ending DACA is a despicable and cowardly act of a cowardly politician seeking to curry the favor of the white nationalists who elected him. It is repugnant and it stands in direct opposition to our values as Americans. We are a nation of immigrants – of people who struggled to come to a land that was founded on freedom. And the American people know immigrants are the foundation of our communities – a foundation that cannot be paved over. The majority of Americans support DACA – they get how this program represents the best of America – and more importantly Americans understand that it is morally indefensible to deport children. From day one, Trump has let TPS Visas lapse day after day, he’s announced some of the most reprehensible immigration bans the world has ever seen and today he is seeking to remove nearly 1 million children from our country – children that have committed no crime, and who have known no other home. The values Trump’s actions have represented from day one are not American values. And when our leaders don’t embody our values – it’s time for new leaders! We need to continue standing up and fighting back. We can win back our country together. But it’s going to take courage and energy and fight – things Trump’s actions today gravely lack. So stand up, Fight back,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

RWDSU Marches for Dreamers

RWDSU members joined thousands of other New Yorkers outside of Trump Hotel on New York City’s Central Park to rally and march to Trump Tower on fifth Avenue to support DACA. DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - allows undocumented immigrants who come to the United States as children, also known as Dreamers, temporary work permits and protects them from deportation if they submit biometric data to the government, pass a background check and maintain a clean record. The program has provided temporary status and work permits to roughly 800,000 immigrants since its inception in 2012. In New York state, 42,000 people have benefited, according to community group Make The Road New York. It’s helping students and workers give back to their communities and pursue their dreams. Chanting “education not deportation” and “immigrants are welcome here,” the marchers carried signs supporting DACA and opposing policies that would tear communities and families apart. Ending DACA would also cost the city of New York an estimated $460 billion.  

Illinois Bakery Workers Ratify New Pact

A new three-year contract for Local 835 members at Bunny Bread increases wages for Shipping Clerks and Drivers by two percent annually and maintains their health insurance. With the employee contribution remaining the same for the life of the agreement, the company will be absorbing a five percent increase in year three. The contract also protects workers’ pensions, and adds a fifth year of vacation after 20 years of service. Holiday pay will also be increased for drivers. The workers are employed at Bunny Bread in Edwardsville, Illinois. The Bargaining Committee consisted of Chief Steward Michael David Fricker and Indiana Joint Board President Dave Altman.

Resistance at Work: Queer Employees at NYC Sex Toy Stores Organize a Union

The Pleasure Chest isn’t your typical workplace.  Employees at the sex toy store’s two New York City locations are mostly queer—many of them trans and gender non-conforming. And in late June, they did something few retail workers across the country dare to do: they formed a union, voting 16-0 to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers. Continue reading

Massachusetts Maintenance Workers Win Big Gains

Workers at Sodexo, a maintenance company with a contract at Attleboro High School in Massachusetts, have ratified a new three-year contract with big gains. The Local 875 members will see big pay increases of 15-22 percent over the course of the agreement. Continue reading

Alabama Dialysis Workers Win RWDSU Voice

Over 40 workers at two separate dialysis centers voted overwhelmingly to join the RWDSU Mid-South Council, sticking together through six weeks of anti-union rhetoric. The anti-union campaign included management bringing in union-busting “consultants” to shut down the organizing drive, but workers Fresenius Kidney Care in Mobile, Alabama, were undaunted in their desire to win a union voice and make their jobs better.

Statement From RWDSU Pres. Appelbaum on Charlottesville

"The white nationalism on display this weekend has no place in our communities, our politics or our workplaces. It is our responsibility to stand up against the hateful ideologies that have become alarmingly mainstream over the past year.   My thoughts and prayers are with victims of these acts of terrorist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia."

RWDSU Conducts OSHA Training for Retail Workers

The RWDSU and the Retail Action Project conducted an OSHA training session at the RWDSU offices in Manhattan. At the session, 30 retail workers took part in in the OSHA 10 hour for General Industry course.   Continue reading

Strong New Contract at Coca-Cola

Local 513 members at Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Lowell, Massachusetts, ratified a new contract with a unanimous vote. The contract calls for wage increases of 2.75 percent each year of the three-year contract, which amounts to increases of 68 cents to 88 cents per year. Continue reading

RWDSU Website Hacked!

August 2, 2017 By Joe Maniscalco    The RWDSU website is recovering following a cyber attack. New York, NY - The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) is reporting that an “anti-semitic computer hacker” targeted its website with hateful messages this week. The RWDSU’s website was down at the time of this writing, but on Tuesday, August 1, the union released a message saying that it was working to resolve the breech. Continue reading